Martellus Bennett put up the best year of his career in 2014 and he wants to get paid accordingly. The tight end became a safety blanket for Jay Cutler to the tune of 1,675 yards and 11 touchdowns over the past two years. Unhappy with his current contract with the Bears, Bennett has not been seen at OTAs for Chicago as the team begins to adjust to a new head coach and coordinators. However, as mandatory mini-camps kickoff, the tight end is expected to appear.
According to Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com, Bennett is ending his holdout with the Bears and reporting to practice as minicamp begins Tuesday. The tight end already appeared at team facilities to take his physical and will now begin his first set of practices for the new season. Bennett is still unhappy with his contract, but prefers to avoid beginning fined. The tight end already forfeited a $100,000 workout bonus for not attending OTAs. Minicamp fines are more.
Bennett is set to earn $4.9 million this upcoming season and $5 million next year in the final two years of his contract. The tight end wanted a new contract while trade rumors swirled around him. The issue is that while Bennett has two years on his contract, players like Alshon Jeffery and Matt Forte only have one. The Chicago Sun-Times reported general manager Ryan Pace would prefer to get deals done for both Jeffery and Forte before addressing the contract situation for Bennett.
There was concern over the tight end's absence. According to ESPN's Field Yates, the Bears attempted to acquire Tim Wright off waivers, but failed. That led to interest in Jermaine Gresham. However, the Bears will instead rely on their depth at the position with Zach Miller, Bear Pascoe and Dante Rosario. Head coach John Fox told the media that he felt comfortable with who was on the roster, while having Bennett back ends any other outside interest.
That outside interest also includes the quarterback position. According to NFL Insider Ian Rapoport, the Bears were being linked to a trade for Mike Glennon who is available after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers opted to draft Jameis Winston. The Bears are keeping their fingers crossed that Jay Cutler improves as a starter while relying on Jimmy Clausen as his backup. Offensive coordinator Adam Gase made it clear that Clausen was doing just fine and the team felt no need to add another body.
"I feel like from what we saw on tape last year - and I know it was limited, I know what we saw on tape was limited - but he's really grown as a player," Gase said, via ESPN.com. "And what we're trying to put together right now, he was a great fit for that room. He and Jay have a great relationship. I felt like he'd be perfect for what we were trying to do offensively."